Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Consumer Alert:
De La Cruz Law Firm

Delinquent Payday Loan Collection Scam

February 21, 2012

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received complaints from consumers relating to transactions entered into with De La Cruz Law Firm (De La Cruz). The consumers alleged that this entity claimed that they had unpaid loan amounts, that De LA Cruz “represented” the payday lenders and that De La Cruz was attempting to collect the debt. One complainant stated that De La Cruz claimed to be representing MoneyTree.

De La Cruz is not licensed by DFI and is not registered to do business in Washington with the Departments of Licensing or Revenue, and has not registered with the Washington State Secretary of State. Further, De La Cruz does not appear to be licensed by the Washington State Bar Association to practice law in Washington State.

This entity has allegedly made inappropriate bribes to consumers regarding payment options and has otherwise engaged in prohibited and threatening behavior concerning the collection of debts by third party agents.

Payday Loan Debt Collection Laws

Washington State law prohibits threatening or harassing behavior by individuals attempting to collect a debt. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that debt collectors must send consumers a written notice within five days of the first collection phone call, stating the amount of the debt and what it relates to.

Debt collectors cannot state or imply that failure to pay a debt is a crime. They cannot call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. They cannot harass or abuse consumers, or contact consumers' places of employment.

Verify Licenses

DFI strongly recommends that residents verify the license of any lender with which they consider doing business with. Consumers are urged to verify licensing status prior to giving the lender nonpublic personal information, such as social security number and checking account access. You can verify a license with DFI at www.dfi.wa.gov or by calling 1.877.RING DFI (746-4334).

Report Fraud

If you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a payday lender please contact DFI at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.

If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357), or online at www.ftc.gov.

If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the Internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.

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